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Substrate Modulus Regulates Osteogenic Differentiation of Rat Mesenchymal Stem Cells through Integrin β1 and BMP Receptor Type IA.

Guo R, Lu S, Merkel AR, Sterling JA, Guelcher SA
J Mater Chem B. 2016 4 (20): 3584-3593

PMID: 27551426 · PMCID: PMC4991780 · DOI:10.1039/C5TB02747K

Osteoblast differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells is regulated by both soluble factor (e.g., bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP)) and mechanically transduced signaling, but the mechanisms have only been partially elucidated. In this study, physical association of BMP Receptor I (BMPRI) with integrin β1 sub-unit (Iβ1) was hypothesized to mediate osteoblast differentiation of rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on bone-like substrates. The effects of substrate modulus on osteoblast differentiation of MSCs were investigated for 2D poly(ester urethane) films with moduli varying from 5 - 266 MPa, which spans the range from collagen fibrils to trabecular bone. SMAD1/5 and p44/42 MAPK signaling, expression of markers of osteoblast differentiation, and matrix mineralization increased with increasing substrate modulus. The effects of substrate modulus on osteoblast differentiation were mediated by Iβ1, which was also expressed at higher levels on increasingly rigid substrates. Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and immunoprecipitation (IP) experiments showed that physical association of Iβ1 and BMP Receptor I (BMRPRI) increased with substrate modulus, resulting in activation of the BMP signaling pathway. Thus, these studies showed that integrin and BMP signaling converge to regulate osteoblast differentiation of MSCs, which may potentially guide the design of scaffolds and rhBMP-2 delivery systems for bone regeneration.

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